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Nisha Gopalan and Andy Mukherjee

Asia's Bancassurance Madness

There's little value creation for insurers because banks own the customer relationship.

Among all financial products, bancassurance perhaps comes closest to fitting Einstein's theory of insanity: Insurers have been conducting the same sorry experiment again and again, expecting different results.

Right now, it's Asia's turn to be gripped by madness as firms scramble to tie up multiyear contracts worth billions of dollars with the region's big banks. The lenders, as is only to be expected, are charging high fees for distributing insurance products, and pocketing huge upfront payments for exclusive arrangements.